100th Post: A Retrospective

Bullet point thoughts on teaching and learning, January 2011
I spent January with Shansi orientation, trying to conceptualize the fact that I’d be teaching something other than ballet.

The one where carrying an instrument around with you gives you street cred, June 2011
In June, I left the United States for Indonesia, trying to convince myself that I wasn’t terrified.

And in language class…, July 2011
I spent June and July slowly learning Bahasa Indonesia, with an emphasis on the slowly. While it’s argued that Indonesian is an easy language to learn, there are still a lot of intricacies that even now continue to confound me.

How I Started Driving, October 2011
Alongside the language learning, I also (again, very slowly) began learning how to drive a motorbike.

First Day of Dance Class, November 2011
My first week, I took a classical Javanese dance class, which eventually spiraled outward and led to me joining UKJGS, a student group focused on Solo-style dance and gamelan.

Greetings, December 2011
It took time, but I slowly began to fit into the group.

Boxing Day, December 2011
And so I started thinking about Javanese, the local language that most people (or, rather, most people around whom I spend time) favor over Indonesian. I didn’t start learning it, but I did start learning to co-exist with it.

More Thoughts on Communication, February 2012
December and January saw me traveling a bit in Malaysia and Singapore before returning to Indonesia with my parents. A quarter of the way through my fellowship, I began to realize that I actually had learned some things.

everything blurred over, April 2012
In celebration of Kartini Day, I had my first Javanese dance performance.

A Dance Competition, May 2012
Some of the girls who I dance with participated in a dance competition, and the rest of the group (and me) turned out to go watch. I thought deep thoughts about fitting in versus not fitting in.

Learning Javanese, June 2012
As I spent more and more time with UKJGS, focusing seriously on Javanese became an inevitability. Easier said than done, of course.

To every thing there is a season…, June 2012
As I approached the one-year mark on my time in Indonesia, I continued to try to figure out my growing feeling of duality: not really fitting in with Indonesians but also not really fitting in with more transient foreigners.

Images from Banda Aceh, July 2012
Separated from Sara for too long, in July I finally got the chance to go to Banda Aceh and visit her.

On Belonging (part one), August 2012
In August, having finally received my exit visa, I went to visit my grandparents in Malaysia. Where did I feel more comfortable, I wondered, Malaysia or Indonesia?

On Friday, September 2012
I attempted to square the protests in Jakarta and across the world due to The Innocence of Muslims with what I actually saw going on around me.


For more on the larger themes of my time in Indonesia so far, see: dance, language, duality.

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